Lillian Vernon Fiasco

By | Monday, October 24, 2005 at 7:03 pm

Back in early September (September 10th to be exact) Kevin found a really neat costume set for Halloween from a catalog we received in the mail.  It was a Lillian Vernon catalog.  I checked them out online and they sounded legit, so we decided to order the costume for Kevin.  It was a Harry Potter costume, complete with magic wand, tattoos for the forehead scar and others, and of course, the robe along with a few other things.

We ordered the costume that day, 9/10/05, and we were assured shortly after that it would be delivered no later than 9/28/05 — in plenty of time for Halloween.  Well, you can guess the rest, but I’ll give you all the painful details.  A couple weeks after we ordered the costume we got a postcard informing us that it was now on backorder and there would be a delay in shipment.  We were called on the phone by someone at Lillian Vernon and asked if we still wanted the item, which they assured us would still be shipped in plenty of time for Halloween.  Since we were assured to get it in time, naturally we said we’d still take it, so they kept the order going.

Now here’s where it gets bizarre.  Last week we received a postcard in the mail telling us that our order has shipped, and to please allow 5-7 days for delivery.  Excellent, we thought!  So we waited, checking the mail every day, waiting for the package, until it got well over 7 days and into this week.  Today we got another postcard in the mail that says “SORRY, BUT WE CANNOT FILL YOUR ORDER AS REQUESTED.  We are unable to deliver the items listed as they are sold out.  YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR THESE ITEMS.

BUT IT SHIPPED!?!?!?! How can a company simply LIE like that?!?! And what would be the point?? To keep us from cancelling while they try to find a costume for us?? This is rediculous!  So Sandy called their Customer Service number on today’s postcard to complain.  She explained to the customer service rep and asked what the heck was going on, and they checked on what had happened.  The lady apologizes and then says that the system shows that they now have the costume available for immediate delivery, and that we could have it here by Friday is we would like to order it.

We were thoroughly confused at that point, and very frustrated at having been spun around so many times we were now dizzy.  Sandy gave me the phone and had her explain it to me.  Once she did, I was very angry and no longer willing to trust them at all.  But I had one more question for her first.  She had a heavy accent, and I wanted to confirm what I already thought: That this was just some outsourced “Customer Service” Service located overseas, like every other company is doing these days, and she really knows nothing about the actual company at all, but is just following a written (or computer-based) procedure.  She admitted that yes, she is located in the Phillipines.  I then told her that I would NOT like to order it any longer, and told her we no longer trusted this company, and would not be ordering from them in the future, and I hung up frustrated.  Needless to say, I also removed their link from our Bookmark section on this site.  We’re no longer willing to support or recommend them.

Sandy went out searching for a costume solution for Kevin after this call today, and I think she did a nice job.  It’s totally different than what Kevin originally wanted, but she must know what he likes, because after we explained the situation to him and showed him his new costume he really liked it.  We told him that if he still wanted to be Harry Potter instead, we would return this one and look for Harry Potter, which we had even seen recently at Toys R Us.  He said no, he’d keep this one, and was very excited about it.

I’ll save the “Shock and Awe” of what his new costume is for when we post the Halloween photos, but this sentence is enough of a clue in itself, so there ya go.  😉